Andrea Barber, who played the lovable, sassy next-door neighbor Kimmy Gibler on Full House, is opening up about her experience with postpartum depression and anxiety in her new book, Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again.
In the memoir, Barber describes how she became a child star by accident, becoming a mother and her lifetime battle with depression and anxiety.
“I am an introverted, anxious, quiet person who plays a very extroverted, confident, loud character on television. And often, during the eight-year run of FullHouse, I would go to the bathroom before tapings to vomit,” Barber revealed in the book that hit shelves on Tuesday.
The First Signs
“At the time, I thought getting sick before performing was something everyone did,” she added. “I didn’t realize that these were the first signs of a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, something I would hate about myself for years to come.”
Barber spoke to USA Today about how depression brought her life to a standstill.
“It was several months of this long slow spiral of my vomiting every morning at 3am getting worse and worse and taking longer and longer to get out of bed. And I slowly stopped eating,” she said. “It was when I made that 5am phone call to my dad and said, ‘I need you to come pick me up. I don’t know how I am going to get through the next minute of this day, much less the whole day.’ “
“I Thought I Was An Idiot Who Couldn’t Get It Together”
Anxiety has a variety of symptoms that can present differently in each indiviuual. Symptoms range from agitation, restlessness and lack of concentration to fatigue, loss of memory and vomiting.
Vomitting was a persistent symptom for Barber.
“I would spend an hour in the bathroom in the toilet,” she said. “I thought there was something wrong with me. I just thought I was this idiot who couldn’t get it together. That’s honestly how I felt. And it makes me sad to think that now.”
By sharing the personal details of her struggle, Barber believes she can help others become more open to sharing their experience with mental health issues.
“I’m hoping to create a culture of sharing stories, and it’s not just sharing a hashtag,” Barber said. “It’s more important when you’re ready to share your own personal story. Writing my story was very cathartic, but sharing my story – even a glimpse – people respond. And it creates this culture of openness and this tribe of people with this shared experience and shared pain that we’re all in this together and we can heal.”